A different approach to care proceedings linked with more family reunifications and positive outcomes will be expanded across London
The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), first launched in 2008 and now with courts across the country, will be supported in nine London boroughs after an expansion of the London service was awarded to the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
Family cases referred to the FDAC will be held in one of three courts across the city. The FDAC process is different to traditional care proceedings.
Families are given more intensive support as the court uses its authority to provide a response to the problems that led to the proceedings.
Throughout the court process, hearings are held without lawyers, and specially-trained judges work with a multi-disciplinary team made up of social workers, psychiatrists, mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse practitioners attached to the court to give parents a personalised package of support and treatment to overcome problems.
Reunions more likely
A 2016 evaluation of FDACs by Lancaster University found families were more likely to be reunited with their children than in standard care proceedings, and parents were more likely to have ceased misusing substances.
It also found FDAC families were up to four times more likely than families receiving standard care proceedings to be doing well three years after the proceedings concluded.
Steve Bambrough, director of the FDAC National Unit, said: “FDAC achieves better outcomes for parents, better outcomes for children, and better value for money and we applaud these local authorities, the courts, and the judges for taking an innovative, compassionate and evidence-based approach to family justice in the capital.”
The London boroughs supporting a FDAC following the expansion are: Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Kingston and Richmond (Achieving for Children), Lambeth, Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth.
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